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The quick trip seemed like a great excuse to try a new hotel in a great city, and while I don’t often stay at Ritz-Carltons since neither Marriott Rewards nor Ritz-Carlton Rewards is one of my main hotel points programs, I decided to book into the Ritz-Carlton Toronto for one night.
I was partly inspired by what a great experience I had earlier this month at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, especially because of my new Ritz-Carlton (and Marriott Rewards) Gold status thanks to the new United Marriott RewardsPlus Partnership which provides reciprocal benefits to elites of the airline and hotel chain.
Plus, after my stay in New Orleans, I needed just one more stay at a Ritz-Carlton before October 31, 2013 to qualify for their summer promotion where I’ll then receive a complimentary night to be used at a Tier 1-3 property (including this one). Needing no more motivation than that, I booked a Lakeview Deluxe room for one night and requested a King bed and the highest view as possible to take advantage of the views of Lake Ontario. The room cost 239 CAD plus 38.24 in taxes and fees, for a total of 277.24 CAD ($271). For guests who were driving, there is also a 48 CAD ($46) parking fee. This is a tier 2 hotel, so 40,000 Ritz/Marriott points per night. Ritz-Carlton Rewards is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate rewards, but I value my Chase points much higher than this redemption (not even 7/10th of cent per point!) so I opted to pay for the room and also secure the free night award from the promo.
As a Gold Elite Member, I had the added perks of:
- Complimentary room upgrade upon availability (but not to a Club Level or Suite) – and it turns out I was upgraded to a Corner Suite.
- Complimentary WiFi
- Complimentary late check-out until 2 p.m. upon availability
The Ritz-Carlton just opened at the end of 2011, and is centrally located in downtown Toronto so close to a wide range of restaurants and shop, along with being convenient for the TV studio where I needed to film.
The hotel overlooks both Lake Ontario on the south side and the Toronto skyline to the north, with 267 guestrooms that include 56 Corner Suites, two Deluxe Suites and one Ritz-Carlton Suite.
The lobby area is beautiful – big and open with gorgeous chandeliers. As I was checking in, the agent informed me that I had been upgraded from the Deluxe Room I had booked to a Corner Suite, which is one category up.
The Corner Suite is 200 square feet larger than a standard Deluxe Room and goes for about $100 CAD ($96) more per night. I took my key and gladly caught the elevator up. I was especially happy with my views of the CN Tower and the Gold welcome amenity of chocolates and macarons waiting for me in my suite.
Though they’re not enormous the Corner Suites are still pretty sizeable at 650 square feet, and mine had a long entry hallway with hardwood flooring between the living room and bedroom.
It’s a nice touch if you have guests visiting you in your room – especially if you are in town for business and colleagues drop by – so they have their own restroom to use and you maintain the privacy of the bedroom and your own bathroom for yourself.
The suite’s sitting area was fairly large and contained a nice little couch and armchair facing the 42-inch LCD flatscreen television, and a work desk set against the floor-to-ceiling windows. It also contained the standard Bose 3.2.1 CD, DVD entertainment and surround sound system, a Nespresso coffee maker,
The bedroom was also pretty roomy, with a king-size bed in plush white 400-thread-count Frette bed linens and an African Anigre wood millwork headboard as well as another 42-inch LCD flatscreen and two armchairs.
The master bath had a huge bathroom with marble floors and walls, a walk-in shower with a dual showerheads, a WC, a separate deep-soaking bathtub and two sinks at the vanity with a 19-inch HD television set into the mirror.
As usual, my visit was quick, so I didn’t get to experience all the hotel’s amenities, but I did find out about them while I was there.
The Ritz-Carlton Club Level rooms are on floors 18 to 20 and include access to the 20th floor Club Lounge, which offers continuous complimentary food and beverage options throughout the day.
The Urban Sanctuary on the fifth floor is a 23,000-square-foot space that includes a pool, fitness facility, kinesis center, yoga studio, relaxation area as well as a wrap-around terrace. The space also contains the Spa My Blend, which was just ranked #1 hotel spa by Travel + Leisure for 2013, and has 16 treatment rooms.
The hotel’s signature restaurant is chef Tom Brodi’s TOCA, which focuses on local, sustainable Canadian ingredients, while its other restaurant, DEQ, has a Mediterranean menu and a patio with stunning city views. There’s also the Ritz Bar for casual drinks and bites.
Although short, this was another great Ritz-Carlton stay, and it has me rethinking my previous lack of interest in the chain. I have had great experiences so far, and I love the high-end service and amenities both in terms of hotel facilities and in the rooms themselves. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
I’ve already got one free-stay certificate under my belt thanks to the fall promo, and I’m thinking that depending on my travels for the rest of September and October, I might try to stay at a few more Ritz-Carltons to rack up a few more free stays.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.